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Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about tips for baby feeding magic. What if you let baby choose what’s for dinner? Check out their cute “Quest for Yum!” video and see what happens!
Do you have questions about when or what to feed your baby? As we know, letting your baby just crawl around the kitchen like in this video in quest for what’s healthy isn’t exactly how it works!
Around 6 months of age is when your baby should be ready for solid foods and by that I mean baby appropriate foods gradually increasing texture and thickness as your baby’s developmental skills grow and mature. I don’t mean it’s time for waffles and hamburgers.
So how do you know your baby is ready for solids?
Can your baby sit up by his/her self and open her mouth for the spoon when he/she sees it coming?
Can he/she close her mouth over the spoon?
Does your baby keep most of the food in his/her mouth and swallow it?
If you answered yes to these 3 questions, your baby is ready for solids. This could be anywhere from 5 months to even 8 or 9- depending on the child. As a Registered Dietitian, I’m often asked:
Today, I’ll tackle the first 3 questions. Because as parents, we are only responsible for WHAT we offer our children when they are babies. Babies have an innate ability to know HOW MUCH they need. Unlike Adults, they will stop eating when they are full. They will also give us cues (i.e. crying) WHEN they are hungry. As parents, we can only offer babies food at our regular meal times and give bottles or snacks in between meals- every couple of hours. Your baby will decide if he/she is hungry and wants to eat. This is completely normal.
The American Dietetic Association recommends introducing one food at a time. The order in which you introduce foods has traditionally been rice first, then other single grain cereals- followed by vegetables, fruits and meats. The order is not necessarily as important as just introducing one food at a time- meaning wait 3-5 days between starting a new food. This way, you can keep your eye out for any food allergies which you may be able to identify by rash, diarrhea or even vomiting.
Textures are very important starting at smooth to thicker and eventually soft finger foods. And be careful with things like grapes, popcorn, carrots, some meats or green beans as they can be choking hazards. Also, remember to NEVER let your baby or toddler eat unsupervised.
Some kids adapt to new textures easily while others do not. My daughter (7 now) still struggles with certain textures. And when she was a baby, actually would throw up at the table (NOT so fun!) with certain textures like that of watermelon. In fact, I send pureed fruit in her lunch box everyday. I either make it myself and have also bought plum organics in this convenient lunch box friendly package. I love Plum Organics because their baby food and pureed fruit is certified organic, nutrient rich, has no added junk and they also come in BPA Free packaging. AND their pureed fruits’ packaging allows me to sneak an extra serving of fruit into my texture sensitive first graders lunch box.
And before I sign off, a few other tips to remember when feeding your baby: 1) Make feeding fun! Remember if you smile and have fun- so will they! 2) Allow your baby to get messy. Put a bib on your baby or take off their Sunday best. 3) Give up control at the table- let them choose how much, when and whether. 4) Let baby watch you eat a variety of foods and they will follow your lead as they grow up…in their own time.
Kristie Finnan is a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist, Freelance Writer and Published Children's Author. She is the Mom of 3 and Food Snob with a passion for Nutrition Education, Healthy Kids Foods, Marketing and Social Media.
Kristie is the Creative Director/Editor for www.DivaDietitian.com and www.KidsLoveFood.com & Founder of www.DoylestownNutrition.com.
Diva Dietitian blogs in Full Disclosure. Please see: http://kristiefinnan.com/about/disclosure.